How to fill a sketchbook

How to fill a sketchbook - student project

My class is about a topic many artists struggle with: Filling and using a sketchbook, not being intimidated by the blank pages, keeping it with you. I will share many useful tips on how to achieve the "finished sketchbook" dream and what a sketchbook can be and should be.

Class outline:

Class Title: How to fill a sketchbook

Methods to stay motivated and finally really using a sketchbook like an artist!

Do you have it as well? The drawer of shame, filled to the brim with unfinished sketchbooks, sometimes only one site drawn or painted on. I have one. It features sketchbooks that are small, big, watercolour, mixed media, toned paper, for notan sketches only, for a certain project/class, for manga, markers and a lot more. I didn't finish one for the longest time. I always wanted to use the sketchbooks. But I felt intimidated. By the beautiful sketchbooks on youtube and by my idea what a sketchbook should look like and what it should be.

Now I see: I didn’t use my sketchbooks. I just wanted the finished book without seeing what a sketchbook really is. It is a workspace where I can practice and do whatever I want. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a place for developing yourself and your skills.

Let’s finish a sketchbook!

In this class you will learn to choose the right sketchbook and to use it as a tool for development. You will receive tips and learn methods how to stay motivated and learn about challenges and projects you can do inside your sketchbook. We will also tackle some difficult tasks together: What to do when you make a mistake? What if you don’t like a drawing? How do you start a sketchbook?

The class is suited for complete beginners as well as experienced artists. No skills are required.

As a class project, you will make a sketchbook travel kit including THE sketchbook you will fill! Exciting, isn’t it? You will also chose a challenge you would like to complete as a class project.

I am so excited to see your sketchbooks!



Video lessons


Talking head, picture slideshow

3 min

-goals for the class

-about the class


Step 1: Choosing the right sketchbook for your travel kit

Demonstration, slide show, talking head

4 min




-tools for travel kit

-project 1: the travel kit


Step 2: Make it more than a sketchbook!

Talking head

2 min

-art diary


-collection pages


Step 3: How to start

Demo timelapse with voice over

5 min

-where to start

-ideas for first pages


Step 4: What to put inside the sketchbook

Slide show, talking head

5 min

-freestyle drawing

-how to make a study of something

-colour and notan sketches

-new techniques and media


Step 5: Dealing with mistakes

Live demo

3 min


-accepting and growing


Step 6: Staying motivated

Talking head

3 min

-art challenges

-good habits

-project 2: choose a challenge!

Class Projects

Project 1: Make a sketchbook travel kit

Keep your sketchbook with you at all times! Easily said but how? “I need all those supplies to sketch and my sketchbook is so heavy, my bag is so small,...”

Watch the lesson about step 1! Chose THE sketchbook which fits in your purse or bag or even pocket. In the video lesson I will provide a lot of tips on how to choose wisely :)

But with just a book you can’t do anything. You need a pencil. What else? Write down what you really need with you for sketching. A travel watercolour kit? A brush? A brush pen or micron? A ruler and fineliners? Markers? Now write down why you need this so badly. Keep in mind: You will have to carry this around every day now! In the end choose your supplies.

Now it is time to pack a travel kit. Make it convenient and easy to use. Make it small and lightweight. A travel kit can be a sketchbook with a penholder and a pen in it. It can also be a purse with watercolour supplies and a sketchbook in it. Always put back supplies you take out of your travel kit, so you don’t have to pack it when you have to run for a bus.

Post a picture of your sketchbook travel kit in your class project and if you want: Share it on instagram by tagging me @lenaschmack and using #sketchbooktravelkit


Project 2: Choose a challenge

Write down the challenge you choose from the video lesson “Step 6: Staying motivated” or invent your own! You can also follow challenges on social media or some made from other people.

Work on the challenge in your sketchbook. Share your progress in your class project! I am looking forward to seeing your sketchbooks grow. You can also post your progress on instagram by tagging me @lenaschmack and using #howtifillasketchbook . If you want, you can post your FINISHED sketchbook inside your class project as well. If you post it on instagram, tag me @lenaschmack  and use #sketchbookfinished


Artist and illustrator from Berlin